A leopard on Thursday managed to escape by breaking the cage in which it was trapped by the forest department at Dindore village of Junnar taluka in Pune district. While the villagers blamed the department for using ‘inferior quality’ cages to trap leopards, officials refuted them by saying that it was the same cage in which a leopard was trapped a few days ago.
“One can imagine the strength and aggressive nature of the leopard who managed to break the cage and escape,” said a villager.
Range forest officer S S Ragatvan said, “A few days ago we had trapped a leopard in the cage at Khamundi. The same cage was later shifted to Dindore where we trapped another leopard in it. However, it managed to break the cage and escape. We cannot say that the cage was of poor quality but the leopard seemed to be very aggressive.”
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A series of leopard attacks on children has created panic among the villagers of Junnar taluka. While five-year-old Praveen Devaram Dudhpade of Khamundi village was killed by a leopard on April 17, a three-year-old girl was rescued from the clutches of a leopard with minor injuries on the same day. A few days later, five-year-old Sai Mandlik of Dindore village was also killed.
The forest department had then placed 10 cages at strategic spots in these villages. Its plan seemed to work as the officials managed to trap two leopards in these cages – one at Dindore on May 7 and another at Khamundi on May 14. Both leopards were shifted to Manikdoh Leopard Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.
Villagers continue to live in fear as they believe there are more leopards around, especially after the leopard managed to escape the cage in Dindore village.